Wednesday, 27 June 2018

THE NAME'S GAVIN... JOHN GAVIN... THE BOND YOU NEVER SAW (UPDATED)...



Most JAMES BOND fans will know this already, but probably not your ordinary, everyday man in the street.  Which begs the question - what are you doing standing on the street at this time of night?  SEAN CONNERY made his first 'return' as 007 in DIAMONDS Are FOREVER, but did you know that another actor was already signed up to play the legendary super-spy for that movie, before big TAM (that's Mr. Connery to you) relented and agreed to do it?

JOHN GAVIN had signed the contract and was all set to go, when, at the last minute, the original big-screen Bond had a truck-full of money driven up to his front door and was told to 'say when' as loads of lovely dosh was pumped through his letterbox (figuratively speaking of course).  Poor John was paid his agreed fee in full and didn't even have to earn it, but that was probably no consolation for missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime.  Having said that, he was in the frame for LIVE & LET DIE when Connery refused to do it, but the producers ultimately decided to use a British actor and the role went to ROGER MOORE instead.  (Wise choice if you ask me.)

If you're anything like me, you may be asking "Who the heck's John Gavin?", which is what I said when I first read of this fact in JOHN BROSNAN's book JAMES BOND In The CINEMA back in the '70s.  Dedicated movie buffs will know that he appeared in PSYCHO and SPARTACUS, so he wasn't a complete unknown, but his name doesn't seem to be particularly well-remembered these days.   Anyway, here's a photo of him, taken from another book, The JAMES BOND FILMS by STEVEN JAY RUBIN, which was first published in 1981.

What do you think, Criv-ites?  Does he look the part, or are you glad that things turned out the way they did with the Edinburgh-born laddie once more picking up his WALTHER PPK ?  (And yes, you're right - that is MARY TYLER MOORE in the above photo.)  What's that?  You're not sure - one pic isn't enough to go on?  Okay, here's another, from his short-lived 1964 TV series DESTRY.  Had he got to play Bond, he'd have been the tallest actor in the role, standing as he did at 6' 4".

14 comments:

Comicsfan said...

Since I never saw his later work (this aspect of his career was fascinating--James Bond, heh, I never saw it coming), I knew him best from his role in 1959's Imitation of Life. I would have been interested to see him in the Bond role--I think it would have done him good to play a part with a little more of an edge.

Kid said...

He's like a younger, smoother-looking Sean Connery in some respects, CF. Had he been able to do a convincing British accent (that was George Lazenby's shortcoming), I reckon he could have made quite a decent Bond. (I did like Moore in the role though.)

Tom Dulski said...

Very interesting, I never knew that. Not a huge Bond fan.

Kid said...

Now that you DO know, TD, that MAKES you a huge Bond fan. It's the price of knowledge.

scarecrow33 said...

The photo at the top is from the last few seconds of "Thoroughly Modern Millie" in which John Gavin plays Julie Andrews' romantic interest and ends up falling for Mary Tyler Moore.

In the 80's, he was Ambassador to Mexico, appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Apparently, they were good friends.

I mostly know him from Destry--an excellent Western series, by the way--as well as Psycho and Thoroughly Modern Millie. He would have made an interesting Bond, and certainly could have carried off the role with a respectable performance--but as Roger Moore was the first James Bond I saw in the movies, he remains my favorite Bond actor, or more precisely, one of my two favorites, because Connery was certainly iconic in the part. Still, it's intriguing to consider Gavin as a possible Bond.

Kid said...

I don't know if Destry was ever shown in the UK, but I don't remember it if I ever saw it, S33. Although I was aware of his character's presence in Psycho when I saw it years ago, I don't actually remember Gavin himself, so he obviously didn't make much of an impression on me. He does look as if he'd have made an acceptable Bond though. Connery was my first Bond and I was lucky enough to see his six movies on the big screen, though he'd already vacated the role the year before, and he was certainly the right man for the job in the '60s. However, with Thunderball he sort of lost interest and simply sleepwalked through the role from then on in. Roger was definitely the right man for the job in the '70s, and Live & Let Die outperformed DAF at the box office. As you say though, it IS intriguing to consider how things would have been with Gavin as Bond.

Colin Jones said...

At the beginning of Psycho we see John Gavin bare-chested and Janet Leigh wearing just a bra - it must have seemed rather saucy in 1960.

Kid said...

Phew, that's a relief, CJ. I thought you were going to say that Janet Leigh was bare-chested and John Gavin was wearing a bra. That's probably how it would be made nowadays.

Lionel Hancock said...

Life takes a strange route at times..John Gavin was obviously not meant to be Bond whereas Connery was. .Connery then went on to better things finally winning an Oscar.. More interesting will be who will take over from Danial Craig...Idris Elba or better still Kim Khardashian.

Kid said...

I suspect that Connery got his Oscar in a sympathy vote, LH, due to there being speculation in the media that he'd never act again as he had some kind of throat cancer. At least that was the story in the papers at the time. Idris Elba is ruled out on the grounds that Bond isn't black, in just the same way that Daniel Craig can't play Power Man as Luke Cage isn't white. Nor is Bond transgender, so Kim, bless her little cotton socks, ain't got a chance in hell. (I hope.)

TC said...

After seeing George Clooney as Batman, Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy, and Alec Baldwin as The Shadow, I predict that the next James Bond will be Stephen Bailey.

Plus, Richard Simmons as Rambo, Paul Reubens as Tarzan, David Hyde Pierce as Mike Hammer, Rita Rudner as Xena, Sarah Silverman as Modesty Blaise, and Harvey Fierstein as Sgt. Rock.

Kid said...

Let's hope that something so mental could only happen on Bizarro world, TC. Otherwise madness would reign.

Rick Heg said...

I agree with you that he does have a bit of the "Connery" look. I thin it would have been interesting. The Moore pictures, to me, were just ok, and believe me, I have seen them numerous times. They all seemed to be "You Only Live Twice" but on a 10 fold scale, which was what audiences in the '70's wanted. I like Roger Moore, but I never ever had the feeling that he took the role seriously. My favorite Moore Bond was "For your eyes only". Good script, great soundtrack, good direction. The thing that Connery had, was that you knew he was a badass, but he was just so damn cool! It's why I've never been fond of Craig in the role. Tough and brooding, but not a hint of coolness. We already have Jason Bourne for that.

Kid said...

I think what people forget though, RH, is that we knew Connery's Bond was a bad@ss because we'd seen him BE a bad@ss so there was a bit of unconscious association going on there. In Moonraker, when Bond survives the centrifugal machine, big Rog does a good bit of acting when he refused assistance from Holly Goodhead. Here we saw Bond being vulnerable in a similar way to the scene in Dr. No when he rushes into the bathroom to be sick after killing the tarantula. When Tom Manciewicz came aboard with Diamonds Are Forever, the tone of the Bond movies changed (becoming more camp and played for laughs) and Roger sort of inherited that. I tend to think that Connery stopped taking the role seriously after Goldfinger, and while I think Roger was winking at the audience sometimes, I think he took the role seriously enough when the scene required it. I agree with you on Daniel Craig - he's great in the fight scenes, but lacks the suaveness, sophistication and coolness that Bond is supposed to have. He just doesn't look comfortable in a dinner jacket.

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